One of the questions that I get asked often during workshops and webinars is – “We have lots of stories to tell. Which one should we tell first?”
I love this question because it’s always a chance to remind fundraisers and communicators that there should be intention and strategy behind every story you tell. Here are three questions that I consider when deciding which story to tell.
Who is your audience?
Knowing who your audience is one of the most important pieces of information you need in order to communicate effectively. Their demographics, psychographics, past behaviors, and so on are factors to consider when you want to choose a story that will resonate with them. There’s a whole chapter about this in my forthcoming book and one of the best tips I can offer you is to identify what you know about your audience. Write a list. Create an audience profile. Keep evolving what you know based on new data you collect from surveys.
What is the message you want to communicate?
As I said at the beginning of this post, there should be intention and strategy behind every story. The message you want to communicate is a big part of that. You are never telling a story just for the sake of telling a story. You are telling a story to inspire, educate, and activate a group of people. Identify what message you need to communicate with your target audience in order to reach your goals. If the story does not help you communicate that message, then it is not the right story to tell.
What medium will you use to tell the story?
The final consideration is the medium you will use to tell your story. Will it be text, audio, pictures, illustrations, video, or a combination? Think about the stories you have, the people who are behind them, the details, and the emotions. Will the medium you plan to use best capture that story?
There you have it. Those are three questions that you can ask yourself next time you are trying to pick a story to tell.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What questions or guidelines do you use when selecting a story for a project?